Posts Tagged: pandemic wedding

Intimate Summer Catholic Wedding During COVID

While the pandemic altered original wedding plans for a large ceremony and reception; Gina and Charles were married in an intimate ceremony at their Church, St. Joseph Catholic Church – Issaquah. Eight close family members were onsite, masks on, as others watched via live streaming. June 26th was a special one as both Gina’s parents and grandparents had married on that very date.

Following the ceremony, each household was sent home with a box of desserts from Blue Box Bakery, a sweet ending to the day! Gina & Charles had a small cake to enjoy as well.

Congratulations Gina & Charles!

Vendors: Planning: Pink Blossom Events
Photography: Amelia Soper Photography
Floral: Fena Flowers
Wedding Cake & Desserts to Go: Blue Box Bakery
Hair & Makeup: Paper Dolls NW
Ceremony Location: St. Joseph Catholic Church – Issaquah

We loved working with BreeAnn! Our planning was particularly tricky in that we had to change almost everything really late in the game due to COVID-19 restrictions, and BreeAnn was with us every step with remarkable agility! She was really understanding that this was all a stressful time for us, and she made it easy to reimagine what was possible. While we’re sad we were unable to have the beautiful wedding BreeAnn initially planned, we also loved the far more intimate event she created for us.

BreeAnn has an amazing list of vendors, and she has a great sense for which ones would be a good fit for our personalities and the event we were planning. We connected well with everyone she helped us select, and she was a great advocate for us all along the way.

She had fantastic ideas to make our wedding a really special day. We loved so many of her suggestions that we never would have thought of on our own.

BreeAnn is creative, organized, great at finding compromises, and willing to go above and beyond to make your wedding the day you’ve always imagined it could be. More than all that, though, she is a really kind and thoughtful person, who we hope to keep in touch with for a long time to come.” – Gina & Charles

COVID-19 Blog Series: How to Keep Your Vendor Team with a Smaller Wedding

Seattle Wedding Planners Pink Blossom Events, Clutch Events, Perfectly Posh Events and New Creations Wedding Design & Coordination have teamed up to bring you a 4-Part Blog Series covering COVID-19 and planning your wedding during these unprecedented times. Today, the gals over at Perfectly Posh Events are sharing some ideas to keep your vendor team with a smaller wedding.

We know the entire wedding landscape has either come to a swift halt or will need to be recalibrated to operate in the temporary “normal” we are all trying to navigate. This is especially true for couples who have finished planning their wedding and are just waiting to enjoy their big day. Couples are left wondering, “What next? Where do we go from here? What about all the contracts we’ve signed with our team of vendors?” For some, the best choice is to postpone their wedding and try to move as many of their vendors to that new date. Others may carry on for various reasons, but their wedding may look different than what they had hoped, and it might be significantly smaller than what they had originally planned. Regardless of your decision, keeping your vendor team intact will make Plan B that much easier. Your thought out plans will still be able to have the same aesthetic and vibe. Plus keeping your vendor team will likely be helping in keeping a small local business afloat during these uncertain times.

If you have chosen to downsize your wedding, before you cancel or reduce services with a vendor that you think no longer applies to your special day, try speaking to your vendor and ask them if they can be flexible and creative in their offerings to you. While it may not seem practical to have them provide what you paid for originally, there are creative options that may make more sense for a smaller wedding scenario that could come close to the original amount that you booked the vendor for. Let’s get creative & have conversations before asking for refunds – you might find that in the end you are able to create a very memorable and meaningful celebration for your nearest and dearest!

Here’s a few examples of how you can get creative with keeping your vendor team if you change to a small wedding due to COVID-19:

Photographer: You’ve booked your photographer for 8 hours of wedding coverage. However, you’ve decided to elope with just doing a ceremony this year – so having 8 hours of coverage isn’t really necessary now. Consider asking your photographer if they’d be open to splitting their package to provide 4-6 hours of wedding coverage and allow a 2-4-hour credit further down the road, for an anniversary shoot, a holiday card shoot, family session or a baby announcement, you name it! Just be sure to not expect the additional shoot be to scheduled on a weekend – with a limited number of weekends available each year the photographer likely will not be able to reserve time on two weekend dates with a split package.

Videographer: In that same vein, the same may be true with your videographer! Typically, they offer similar hourly structuring as their photographer counterparts. So the same approach to reducing or splitting hours may be an option to run by them!

We’re also hearing of some of our videographer friends including a longer video edit of the hours they could not use on the wedding day, in hopes it brings more value to the couples’ memory log. From there, you can share that video with guests that couldn’t make it!

Hair & Makeup: Having a smaller wedding might mean that you have decided to not have a wedding party, so you may have a few empty slots in your hair & makeup booking. Consider passing on those time slots to your immediate family who will be attending the wedding and treat them to a pampering! If this doesn’t make sense to your situation, it might also be worth asking your stylist if there’s an option to rollover the surplus of services as a credit towards another event in the future, such as a special work function, a wedding or baby shower, a family photo shoot, etc.

Music & Entertainment: You hired a string quartet to play for your ceremony. If it feels weird to have a string quartet while you walk down a much smaller aisle with less guests in attendance, consider asking them to play during your intimate dinner after the ceremony. Live music during dinner really elevates the dining experience for guests! The same goes for reception music! If you hired a band to play for the dancing portion of the reception, consider asking them what creative suggestions they can offer to enhance your guest experience! Depending on how you feel, it might make sense to have them play throughout the remainder of the evening as well.

Our DJ friends over at Bamboo Beats provided the following suggestion for keeping your DJ as part of the vendor line-up:

We have done many weddings that are less than 50 people and feel that music is an amazing way to create a calming and harmonious mood for the ceremony and dinner even if there may not be any dancing. 

We can provide music from very safe distances and in multiple locations, with only one person on-site if needed to keep your vendor count low. We will be providing safety protocols like safe distancing and using disposable covers for our microphones during the ceremony and speeches to keep everyone safe.

Just because you are having a smaller guest count, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have a string quartet play at your ceremony or a DJ playing all evening. Pre-pandemic, we have planned many events that have had a DJ on hand. We also planned a wedding with 16 guests and the couple still opted to have a string quartet play during their ceremony. It was lovely and did not feel out of place at all!

[Photo Credit | Adrian Wangz Photography]

Caterer: With a smaller guest count, this sometimes means you can splurge a bit more and spoil your guests, because there just aren’t as many to accommodate. Many of our awesome caterers are willing to be flexible with their minimums, but if you’re having a hard time hitting their minimum still, ask your caterers for some creative options with the menu. Maybe an amuse bouche, mid-course palette cleanser or late-night snack!? Or, go big or go home, and look into a multi-coursed dining experience for your intimate guest list. Throw in a wine pairing, and you’ve got one of our favorite ways to celebrate – eating, drinking, and being married!

If you’ve hired a specialty food or beverage caterer, such as an espresso cart or a hot dog stand for a late night snack, you can consider using their service for another event or ask about reducing the guest count to hit their minimum. We have a wedding later this summer who downside to 20 guests and is using both the Espresso Elegance and Dante’s Inferno because they were so excited about it already, why take that away? We’ve also seen some couples donate these specialty food & beverage services to those who are working on the front lines – hospitals, food banks, grocery store workers, school lunch distributors, etc. If you are unable to use a service, donating it is a great way to give back with your wedding!

Dessert: You’ve ordered an army of desserts for a sweets bar for 150 people through your baker. But now your guest count is 20 people. Ask your baker to come up with some options that can get you close to the original value without having a ridiculous amount of dessert sitting out.

Some examples:

~Send each guest home with a midnight snack of desserts different than what was served at the wedding – maybe it’s a box of macarons, salted caramels, mini tarts, or a custom sugar cookie with your monogram. Package it up nicely with a silk ribbon and you’ll end the night on a sweet note for your guests!

~Raise the bar at your intimate reception and incorporate the desserts in your decor in a lavish way that you may not have been able to do before with a 150 person wedding. Those Pinterest ideas that you loved but couldn’t fit in the budget for a 150 person wedding? They suddenly are doable for a 30 person wedding! For example, you could have miniature individual cakes at each guests’ place setting with their name as the cake topper to serve as the place card – like this cake here by Honey Crumb Cake Studio and custom topper by Pomp & Revel

[Photo Credit | Kristen Honeycutt Photography]

~Want to include your friends & family who won’t be able to attend in person but will be watching the festivities virtually? Send your guests who are celebrating from afar a dessert box, cookie, or “cake cup” in the mail with a mini bottle of champagne and note telling them how much you care about them. Our friends over at Prive Events suggested this great idea!!

~If you can’t find a way to incorporate the dessert into your wedding day (there is only so much sugar that one can consume after-all) you can ask the baker if they would covert the remaining amount not spent on desserts to be credited towards a future purchase from the bakery. This could be used for an anniversary cake, a gender reveal cake if you have a baby, a birthday cake, and so much more!

Flowers: What are you going to do with enough flowers for 20 centerpieces if you only need enough for one long table that will seat 18 people? Similar to the dessert ideas above, you can first start by upgrading your design and doing the things that maybe you weren’t able to do when your floral budget was spread out over 20 centerpieces. Or you maybe able to have a small arrangement delivered to your local family members and friends who are unable to attend in-person. Or you can ask the florist for a credit towards future flower orders – Mother’s Day, birthdays, “thinking of you” flowers, future baby showers, monthly flower arrangement for your first year of marriage, etc.

Rentals: This is one of those variable costs that you can reduce easily if your guest count becomes suddenly much smaller. But, since you’re not needing to pay for 150 dinner forks and 150 dinner knives, consider upgrading your rentals for your smaller wedding that maybe you couldn’t afford when your guest count was larger. Get the fancy chair you wanted but couldn’t justify. Upgrade your table linens to a luxurious fabric or pattern. Add in those chargers you were eyeing! Ask your planner or reach out yourself to our amazing local rental companies (shout out to our amazing friends at CORT, Pedersen’s and Alexander for being so great!) and see all the pretty things that you could now bring into your wedding design on a smaller scale.

[Photo Credit | Kristen Honeycutt Photography]

We understand some things may not make sense to keep no matter how creative you get but consider asking if that service can be saved/credited for another event like a holiday party. Or you can ask about donating that service to a local charity who can use it for their annual fundraising event or other purpose. There are countless ways to be creative and generous!

We hope this has helped to spur some creative ideas for you! If you’re still unsure of how to utilize your vendor, please just open up the conversation with them. And if you have a wedding planner, they should be able to help you brainstorm some creative ideas as well! And thank you for considering keeping your vendor team – by continuing to pay your vendors you are helping a local small business and likely helping that vendor take care of their family during this very uncertain time for our industry.

Stay tuned for two more blog posts in this series next week:

~May 12th: Wedding Planning Tasks You Can Be Working on Now.

~May 14th: What Safety Measures You Need to Incorporate at Your 2020 Wedding.

And if you missed the first post on communicating to your wedding guests and vendors by the wonderful Megan from Clutch Events, check it out here.

COVID-19 Blog Series: Vendor & Guest Communication – Before & During Your Wedding

Here you were, blissfully in love, planning your dream wedding and an international pandemic struck derailing your plans! Pfff, rude! Seattle Wedding Planners Pink Blossom Events, Clutch Events, Perfectly Posh Events and New Creations Wedding Design & Coordination have teamed up to bring you a 4 Part Blog Series covering COVID-19 and planning your wedding during this time. Up first, vendor & guest communication brought to you by, Megan of Clutch Events!

If you have a planner, work closely with them on rescheduling your wedding! If they were originally hired for a ‘day of’ package or a ‘partial plan’ package and rescheduling your wedding is outside of the scope you hired them for, consider adding hours to their services to help you with the postponement so you don’t have to do it on your own! If you do not have a planner, these are the steps you should follow to reschedule your wedding.

1. Email/call your venue to get a list of their available dates. *If you are open to other days of the week than Saturday, the likelihood of getting your preferred month will dramatically increase!! And trust us, your guests will totally understand if your wedding is moved to a Friday. Everyone will have just as much fun celebrating you, we promise!!

2. Reach out to your VIP family members & besties to get their availability. Yes, it is unfortunate if your second cousin twice removed cannot make all the options work, but as long as your parents, siblings and maid of honor & best man can come, that date should be considered. Try to get at least three date options that you can send to your vendor team!

3. Email/call your vendors with the new date options and ask them to let you know all of the dates that currently work for them. The date with the most availability, is your new date! To help you keep track, we suggest sending them a Doodle poll or making an excel spreadsheet of the dates and vendors. And once the new date is selected, email them again confirming the new date so they can release any other dates they may have been holding for you! From there, your vendors will send you an addendum to your contract which will lay out the terms of moving your event.

Now that you have officially moved your date with your vendors, it is time notify your guests! Gaaah, you spent all of this money on beautiful invitations or a super cute save the date and now you need to do it again! What do you do? First and foremost, your guests understand that this is a really tough time, they are going through the pandemic as well and they do not expect you to re create a gorgeous letterpress invitation! Cut yourself some slack! As long as you notify guests and can get the correct RSVP information for the new date, you will be set!! With that said, there are a lot of fun options out there!!

Email: If you have email addresses for your guests, great! An email message is the quickest way to notify them of the postponement! If you created your invitations with a design firm like Perfect Press or Paper Fling, they are able to take your invitation design (at minimum fonts/colors) and create a JPEG that you can embed in the body of your email so that the design is cohesive to your invitations and notifies guests of the new date.

If you aren’t ready to accept new RSVP’s yet, let guests roughly know they will receive a new RSVP card and if it will be via email or in the mail.

Paper: You should send a postponement card in the mail if you do not have email addresses for everyone.  A fantastic Seattle designer, Holly of Sablewood Paper Company, has a postponement section on her online shop where you can order beautiful, yet affordable, announcements! Her motto is ‘bad news doesn’t have to be ugly…or expensive’ and we love that!!

Minted and other online shops via Etsy are also offering some fun options!! You can keep the message classy or have a bit of fun with it! Want a discount on Minted? Use the Pink Blossom Evens code to save when you check out, WEDPLPINKBLOSSOM!!

Important! You must also update your website! There are a few pages that need to be edited on your wedding website to reflect the new date:

1. First write a short & sweet, standout message on your home page letting guests know that the date has been postponed! Here is a sample message you can copy/paste:

Due to the current COVID-19 advisories at both the State and Federal level, we are making the very hard but necessary decision to postpone our wedding celebration.  We very much look forward to celebrating with you on our new date of ‘XYZ’.  We will be making regular updates to this website to keep everyone in the loop on the new and improved plan. We love all of you and want everyone to stay safe and healthy!

2. Update the events page dates. Make sure to edit your rehearsal dinner and post wedding brunch dates if they are listed on your site as well!

3. Hotel blocks – Tell guests that their existing reservations have been cancelled and that new reservations will need to be made if you can attend the new date. *The hotel should automatically cancel their reservations once they reschedule your room block, but please confirm that!
*If the rate has changed at any of your properties, note the price change!

4. RSVP page – If you are now asking guests to RSVP online, make sure you activate the RSVP page to collect guest responses!! If you were currently using the RSVP function, you will either need to clear it out and begin again or ask the guests to notify you they have reconfirmed.

Fast forward to your wedding day, what needs to be changed in regard to communicating with your guests? Our 4th blog post in the series will be all about health & safety measures at your event, so please tune in for more details next week, but for this post, we are focusing on communication/signage!

The welcome sign is where we first want to focus! Usually this simply states a beautifully scripted ‘welcome’ along with the couple’s names, date and hashtag. We are encouraging you to ‘use your words’ here to get a safety message across to your guests.  Explaining your wishes from the start will help everyone feel safe and comfortable!! Here is an example from the fantastic, Pomp & Revel who we often go to for day of signage.

Your officiant is the first person to set the tone and while we realize you don’t want to start your ceremony talking about COVID-19, it is a great opportunity to have him/her reiteration the “let’s celebrate safely” message to your guests! This could be before the wedding starts when guests are asked to silence their phones OR after you have been pronounced and are down the aisle – when they welcome guests to move to cocktail hour.

Having cute, small signs at the bar, in the bathroom and on cocktail tables reminding guests to wash their hands isn’t what a bride always dreamed of, we get it, but guests will appreciate that you are making an effort to keep them safe!

The above samples were also designed by the team at Pomp & Revel. They can create beautiful signage in acrylic, wood, slate, faux-leather & metal in an array of colors, sizes and designs! We highly recommend utilizing their help to get the word out to your guests!

Utilize your DJ or band emcee!! They are naturals on the microphone and can talk to your guests in a friendly way, “we are so excited to be together in person!! To make sure we can continue to gather with one another (couples names) hope you will take precautions to respect everyone’s space while still have a fantastic time!”…

We hope you found these steps and tips helpful!! Tune in on May 7th for our next blog post from the Perfectly Posh Events Team about ways you can keep your vendor team even with your reduced guest count!